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NY: Hunter's death in Pamelia probed

October 20, 2010

Hunter's death in Pamelia probed

APPARENT ACCIDENT: Watertown man shot, killed by a member of his hunting party

One man is jailed and another is under investigation following the hunting accident Monday night in the town of Pamelia that left a Watertown man dead.

Clayton E. Typhair, 56, of 305 Gotham St., Apt. 2, died at the scene. He suffered a single gunshot wound shortly after 7 p.m. in a wooded area off outer Bradley Street, according to Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns.

Sheriff Burns said an autopsy performed by Dr. Samuel A. Livingstone, Jefferson County medical examiner, revealed that Mr. Typhair was shot from behind, with a shotgun wound to the right leg.

He declined to say the distance from which the fatal shot was fired.

The sheriff confirmed the shot was fired by Terry Joe Hofferberth, 43, Alexandria Bay, who was one of four in a hunting party, including the victim. In the darkness, Mr. Typhair was mistaken for a deer, the sheriff said.

The department is continuing to investigate the shooting jointly with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert, who was out of the region Tuesday, will be consulted about possible charges in the case, Sheriff Burns said.

The shooting occurred about a half-mile from Bradley Street, he said.

Other members of the party were Philip S. Hofferberth, 48, of 305 Gotham St., Apt. 2, brother of the alleged shooter, and Nicholas D. Rafus, 25, of 205 Winslow St., according to a Watertown police report.

Mr. Rafus was interviewed in the 1200 block of Bradley Street shortly after the shooting by city Patrolman Charles L. Bickell, according to city police, who assisted the Sheriff's Department in the shooting investigation. Police said Mr. Rafus initially identified himself as Dawaun Rafus, apparently attempting to avoid arrest on a Watertown City Court bench warrant citing him with failure to appear on a charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Served with the bench warrant and charged additionally with second-degree criminal impersonation, he was detained for arraignment today in City Court, and subsequently was sent to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building, with bail set at $1,000 by City Judge James C. Harberson.

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